To Binky or Not to Binky?

Actually, I know the answer to this question.

I know I should wean Bun from the binky (what I call the pacifier– also known as a paci, nuk, etc.). I know I should.

She only gets it at nap time and bedtime, so actually we are doing pretty good. Oh, and on long car trips.

When she is awake, when/if she sees it, she freaks out when I don’t give it to her. But I don’t. So I’ve been dealing with those tantrums. (Not always well, but dealing.)

Given her history of ear infections, she especially should be weaned, because sucking on a pacifier at this age seems to add to the risk.

I’ve had two doctors tell me to wean her immediately, one who encouraged me to wean her when she was feeling better (one of our sick visits), one doctor (on her 1-year-old well visit) tell me that a binky at bedtime was fine until about 4 years of age, and a chiropractor who told me the binky was just fine because the sucking helped the cranial adjustment (or something like that).

The unvarnished truth is: I don’t want to wean her. I don’t want to deal with the crying and the loss of sleep. I don’t want the fight.

I’m a tired mama.

Here’s the thing about being a mother in your late-30s to young children: It is physically harder, because you don’t just bounce back from stuff the way you did in your 20s. I would contend that it’s emotionally harder, too, because you’re a little more selfish. Up until you had kids in your 30s, it was mostly about you (and depending on when you partnered up, about your partner) and your needs.

My best friend N made the same point on the phone the other day. She has a very active 2-year-old boy (which may be the most redundant phrase I have ever typed on this blog), and she said playing with him is exhausting. She would rather he just play by himself.

I, personally, find playing with very young children boring. How many times can we do that puzzle? How long do I have to blow bubbles? Well, okay, I actually like bubbles because they look adorable while they are chasing them. But I get lightheaded after 10-15 minutes! How much longer are we going to play with that ball popper? Can’t you just play by yourselves while Mommy reads on the couch? See? Selfish!

And we haven’t even started with board games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, which N referred to as “Just Shoot Me” and Ladders.

This “tired” excuse is also why I don’t fight with Monkey about going to sleep in her own bed. I would be up and down those stairs at least five times if I put Monkey in her own bed at bedtime. She would need to go potty, she would try to climb out of her room, she would cry and wake up Bun, she would do pretty much anything to stall bedtime. Whereas, I read her a book and sing her lullabies to her in my bed, and I don’t have to run upstairs once after kissing her goodnight and turning off the light. I can clean my kitchen, fold clothes, and/or read a book until I go to bed. (A little selfish.)

It takes her between 10 and 30 minutes to fall asleep, and when I go to bed, I just move her into her own bed.

If I’m running up and down stairs after my children go to bed, it’s to perform BRT (Binky Replacement Therapy) for Bun. Usually, BRT needs to be done at least once a night. We seldom make it through a night without BRT, although she is usually well-settled by the time I hit the hay. This is what makes me so hesitant to complete binky weaning. I would be up late and/or often with a crying Bun.

Here’s a couple other things I found on the ‘net:

Moxie sez, Wait until the child is 2 or 3. (Full disclosure: Like Moxie, I sucked my thumb for a long time, so clearly I had oral fixation issues as a child, too.)

This site agrees with Moxie: Actually, most of what I read was along these lines. A lot of the strategies they propose are for older toddlers.

And then there is this fun fact: Pacifier use is linked to a 50% increase in ear infections as compared to babies that don’t use pacifiers.

On the plus side, Bun does not have the binky all the time (she did this weekend though — I had to stop the insanity). Obviously, I will have to talk over strategies with DearDR. Part of me thinks we should wean in September, before cold/ear infection season starts again. The other part of me thinks that maybe we can hold off until January, when Bun turns 2.

It has to be done. Now or later? Anyone else dealing with this or know anyone who is?

Countdown to Girlie Weekend: 7 days

8 thoughts on “To Binky or Not to Binky?

  1. That’s definitely tough. I think when it comes to parenting, mom’s should just go with their instinct. If your gut is telling you to wean her, wean her. If your gut is telling you to wait, wait. But I can definitely see why it is so complicated. Especially with the information about ear infections…

    On another note: I’m young, but I find that I’m *always* exhausted. I think it’s because my body really still needs 9-10 hours of sleep a night (I’m only 22), but obviously I don’t get that. In fact, far from it. So, for that one reason you may have it easier 😉 The debate about young vs. old moms is always interesting. I think both sides have it harder and easier at the same time, quite frankly!

  2. That was supposed to say “older” moms, by the way. You are only in your 30’s, which is not an “old” mom! MY mom was an old mom…she’s in her 60’s now!

  3. I’m now an older mom and can attest that my stamina is fading.

    Two of our kids took binkies and two didn’t. Only two kids have ever had ear infections. One had at 6 months and he was not a binky user. The other had a few but not until he was about 4-5 years old. He was a user. There’s no rhyme or reason for myths like that.

  4. I feel your pain about the exhaustion. One of my friends from home just told me yesterday that she is pregnant again–completely unexpected. She has a 9 year old and a 6 year old. She is a VP of a Bank. She is TOAST! I tried to be positive for her, but I am exhausted FOR HER!

    ABout the binkies–Ella took one,Genna never did. I wish Genna WOULD have taken to a binky or her thumb. She was never able to sooth herself. With Ella, it got to the point to where she only had it in her bed at night because all of her binkies at daycare were lost. Getting rid of it wasn’t NEARLY as bad as Corey and I feared.

    However, a friend of mine had a son who was NOT giving it up for ANYTHING. She told him one day that they were going to wrap up all the binkies in a box (he got to help decorate it.) I think they put it out on the front porch for the binky fairy to take them that night because there are new babies who REALLY need the binkies. It sounds really silly, but it worked. She prepped him for a couple of weeks that it was going to happen, etc.

    I know–take the binkies away as you are walking out the door next Thursday before your flight!!!! heheheheh

  5. Allison: Yes, there are advantages and disadvantages to being a mom at any age. As long as everyone is supportive/respectful of a person’s choices, I think that’s the most important thing — we’re all women & we’re all moms.

    Karen: Isn’t getting older fun?? And, right, Monkey had just as many ear infections as a non-binky user, so that’s probably not the issue for Bun. Poor things, they got my ear tubes!

    MH: Holy crap, I laughed so hard reading your last sentence. I was just picturing DearDR’s face when he couldn’t find a binky. Woman, he would hunt me down.

    I had heard of the fairy binky. If I wait with Bun, I’ll do something like that. If not, we’re going cold turkey in September. I have to return to getting Monkey to sleep in her own bed before I wean the Bun.

    thanks for your comments, ladies!


  6. I personally think that there is a “magic” time to take away the binky. Too early, you go crazy for no reason. Too late, they fight it REALLY hard for months. It certainly doesn’t get easier as they get better at yelling at you using words that you understand. Ugh.

    (If I hadn’t taken Alexis’ away for her first birthday, I have absolutely no doubt she would still have it. She would KILL for one some days. I don’t even know how she remembers, but she still checks the basket I used to keep them in to make sure none have magically appeared.)

    I have a friend whose 4-year old was still using one, and he and his wife came up with a pretty genius way of getting rid of it. They knocked him down to just a few and cut just the very tip off of them. Then a week later they cut a tiny bit more. After a while, there was so little left of the binky that the kid couldn’t keep it in his mouth without a lot of effort and he just plain stopped trying. I thought it was pretty genius, but I’m sure some “expert” would tell me it’s an AWFUL idea. There’s always an “expert” around to disagree, no matter the topic.

  7. I am 31 with 5 kids. The pacifier saved my sanity. They pretty much take themselves off it by the time they are 2 anyways. My daughter sucked her thumb until she was 9 or 10. Usually just when she was asleep or watching TV. It was just something she did. I rather she would have sucked on a pacifier until she was 3. It is funny, my sister refuses to use them with her kids, and they dont understand why the kids cry all the time. She just needs to plug them up!! But this is the same person who would make comments about my kids not being potty trained until 3 (when they did it themselves when they were ready- and we had no accidents!!!) and now her 3 yo daughter STILL isnt trained. Oh, if only I were rude! But seriously, when they are ready to get rid of it, they will get rid of it. Its that simple. Why get rid of something that makes your life easier and them happy? Its not like they are juggling knives.

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